2009 Resolution Monthly Review: March

In an effort to keep my resolutions, I’m reviewing my progress each month.

Ohhh March, You were not good to me.  Or rather, I wasn’t good to you.

March brought a lot of necessary expenditures that we’d been procrastinating for a while-high chair, stroller, gardening supplies.  We also ate out more than we should have.  Unfortunately, shopping and dining kept me from purging the extra clutter and posting more.

Last month, in an attempt to limit spending, I went an entire week without buying anything.  The end result? I bought A LOT of stuff right afterward.  On the seventh day, God rested; on the eighth day, Kelly shopped.  For the rest of this month, I’m going to focus on buying earth friendly products.  I realize that organic and eco-friendly things tend to be more expensive, but I think that will work in my favor.  I’m less likely to make impulse buys of higher price point items.  Plus, eco-friendly doesn’t always mean new stuff.  It also means using what you have, learning to live with less, and buying second hand and refurbished.  Unfortunately, it will also mean cutting out my daily trip to Sonic.  I really (really, really) love my Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper, but they serve them in Styrofoam cup.  And unless I can convince them to fill my reusable mug, I’m going to force myself to live without them.  That is, by far, the greatest sacrafice of all.

Lavender?

Categories: green living | 3 Comments

lavender

One of my readers turned BFF (Hi Laura!) asked me why I was growing lavender. Actually, she said something like this, “Why are you planting lavender seeds? Are you going to start making your own scented candles?”  Since she thinks I’m some kind of Martha Stewart-esque overachiever, I sensed some sarcasm in her tone.  I reassured her that I’m growing for two non-candle making reasons: 1. It’s pretty. 2. You can cook with it.

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Actually, I decided to grow it based on this recipe (appropriately from Martha Stewart).  I’d never cooked with lavender but was anxious to try it.  Since peaches are not in season, I thought I’d try All Recipes’ Lavender Tea Bread. It’s a pretty easy recipe that involves infusing milk with lavender, mixing up a delicious batter, and 50 minutes of baking. It calls for fresh lavender, but I used dry (not after this summer!).  If you decide to use dry, cut it down to 1/3 of what the recipe calls for.

lavender-bread

What did I think? Eh, I’m not sure this herb is for me.  I had high hopes for it.  The pre-baked batter taste spicy and had hints of cinnamon and lemon.   However, I couldn’t break away from the haunting memory of lavender slippers that Chris gave me when we were dating. Baking just intensified that.  It also gave me lavender breath, which is definitely better than bad breath, but it felt like I had been chewing on house shoes.  I don’t think I’m done with lavender;  I just want to mix it with other flavors, like peaches and cornbread.

Spring Beginnings

Categories: home , green living | 2 Comments

Spring is in the air, and I’ve managed to keep my gardening fervor at bay.  In previous years, I’ve planted way too early and watched with great alarm as a late frost killed my tomato plants.  Of course, the last frost date for this zone (6b) isn’t until April 6th so I’ve got a while to go before I can plant in the ground.  However, it’s getting to be time to start seedlings.  In fact, I’m even a bit late for some varieties of vegetable.  Thankfully I’m not growing those from seeds.  I’m quite the novice when it comes to seeds, and some plants, i.e. tomatoes, are more likely to survive if I buy them already thriving.

Actually, I prefer live plants most of the time.  Unfortunately, there is one variety of squash that we’re addicted to and is only available as seeds. Last year, I tried to grow it but failed miserably.  After all, it’s difficult to force yourself out of bed to water your garden in the morning, and it is especially difficult if you’re a sleep deprived new mom.  In order to get our fix, Chris, Cecilia, and I loaded up and went to the farmers’ market every Saturday morning because there was one farmer that grew it.  And on the weeks he wasn’t there, there was quite a bit of sadness in our house.  (I might be exaggerating a little bit, but if we thought about it, we were sad.) This year I’m determined to grow my own.  We’ll probably still go to the Market on Saturdays, but we’ll spend our money on other things, like local honey and watermelons.  (We all know I don’t need to grow watermelons again.  I was too successful at that.)

Despite my failure, I did learn a couple things last year.  First, the supplies to start seeds can be a little expensive for something that you plan to either put in the ground or throw away.  Second, you shouldn’t use paper to mark your seedlings because it will wash away when it rains, and you won’t know which plant is which until you have four butternut squash vines growing.  This year, I have a new method, a cheaper method - yogurt cups!  It’s always bothered me that yogurt comes in a #5 plastic, which isn’t recyclable in our area.  How can something so good for your digestive system be so bad for the earth?  Anyway, I thought I’d give the cups one more use before tossing them in the trash.  I also marked the appropriately labeled the cups with a permanent marker.  Take that rain!

So here are my kids.  I might plant a few more veggies in the next few days.  It just depends if I’m craving yogurt. (As you can see, I ran out of yogurt cups and had to use a few traditional peat moss pots.)

starter-seeds

Sweater Stone!



I’m usually pretty leery of ad campaigns that offer you free product if you mail them a check for shipping and handling. To me, they just scream “Gimmick,” but when I came across an offer for a free Sweater Stone, I thought twice. The Sweater Stone company claims that their product “has the unique ability to remove pilling from knits,” and since I have several relatively new sweaters that already look a little tattered, I decided I’d take a chance. I figured that $4.99 in shipping and handling is much less than I would spend replacing my sweaters, and if it was a bust, I only cost me five bucks.

Well, my sweater stone arrived this week (several weeks sooner than their obligatory 4-6 week estimate.), and HOLY SMOKES this thing works. It was able to revive one of my favorite sweaters that I had given up on because it had millions of little pills all over the breast area. (Why do pills always show up on the boobs first? Do I just run into things with my girls or does the shirt feel it needs its own nipples?) The Sweater Stone company is still offering free stones if you send a check for $4.99. I’d highly recommend taking them up on their offer.

Good Bye Autumn


Nov 08 030

It snowed on Monday.  It makes it that much harder to believe that I took this picture just a month ago.

Real Simple Recycling

In the first few months of Cecilia’s life, I had very little free time to do simple things - like showering - and unnecessary tasks got swept under the rug, or rather, the sofa.  Then I realized about a month ago that I had a very large collection of unread magazines.  I love magazines and get about a dozen a month.  However, that love has recently become quite burdensome because it adds to the clutter that is new motherhood.  My mission over the past couple weeks has been to read through those magazines, rip out the articles and recipes that I want to save, place them in a binder, and chunk the remainder in the recylcing bin.  I think, so far, Chris has made two trips to the recycling center.  I’m sure more are to come.

Beyond reducing clutter, one advantage of this is the opportunity to revisiti articles that I wanted to keep but lost in the chaos of it all.  In fact, I’ve cooked several recipes and found new favorites that probably would have been tossed in a fit of cleaning rage.  I’ve also found several craft projects and some good reference guides, including a  fantastic recycling how-to from one of my favorite mags, Real Simple.    They give an A to Z list on how to recycle everything from aerosol cans to zippered plastic bags.  The list includes some things that I knew, like old tennis shoes, and something that I never even thought about, like Christmas lights.  They also let you know about items that can’t be recycled.  This fantastic article is also available on their website.  I encourage you to give it a glance and maybe stick it in your bookmarks.  It’s definitely worth keeping.

Greenish on a Budget

Categories: green living | 1 Comment

With the struggling economy, it’s getting to be expensive to buy organic and earthy-friendly products.  It kills me to say it, but I’m thinking about making some compromises with my usual purchases to save a buck or two.  Thankfully, I recently discovered GoodGuide, which allows you to look up information on a products social, environmental, and health impact on your home.

Of course, cleaning with baking soda will always be cheap.

Saving the Earth with Bubbly Butts

It’s been a while since I posted on green living, and recently I’ve had some folks asking about our diapering choices so I thought I’d pick back up there.  Most people know that disposable diapers aren’t good for the environment.  Diapers are the third largest single consumer item in landfills.  Scientists estimate that it takes between 250-500 years for a single diaper to decompose.  Considering that Cecilia averages 70 diapers a week, the toll that she would take on the earth is outrageous.  The average disposable is filled with disgusting chemicals, including carcinogens and hormones, and I don’t want to place chemicals next to my daughter’s precious bum-bum. Speaking of that bum-bum, did you know that 1955, before modern disposable diapers were sold, only 7% of infants and toddlers developed diaper rash. By 1991, that number had increased to 78%.

Because of these reasons, cloth diapers have regained popularity and seen great improvements.  Most people are familiar with the traditional prefolds.  Even if they’ve never changed a cloth diaper, there’s a chance their weekly childhood chores included dusting with an old prefold.  (Or maybe that was just my childhood.)  Now days, there is a variety of size, shapes, colors, and styles.  The days of plastic pants are over and have been replaced with fashionable diaper and cover combinations.  In addition to saving the planet, cloth diapers can save quite a bit of money after the initial cost of starting your stash.  However, there is a downside to cloth - the clean up.  If your baby is breastfeed, the early changes are pretty easy, but once your baby starts trying solid foods, things get a bit, well, solid.  You’ll also need a special diaper pale, and you’ll need to do laundry every few days to clean your supply.  Unfortunately, cloth diapers can’t be tossed in with your regular laundry.  There is a special process for cleaning them.

When I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to cloth diaper, but I couldn’t convince Chris to get on board.  He didn’t want the hassle and, to be honest, neither did I.   I was also turned off by the amount of water wasted with all that washing.  But then Chris’s uncle, his very manly uncle, mentioned using a diaper service when his daughter was small.  Chris agreed to use cloth if we found a service.  After quite a bit of searching, I found the only diaper service in Nashville, Smile, Mommy!

We’ve been with Smile, Mommy! for three months, and I can do nothing buy sing their praises.  They’ve been quick to respond to any concerns and very helpful.  Using a service does cost more than using typical disposables, but it’s comparable to using biodegradable disposables. And since they are washing in gigantic industry drum washers, they aren’t wasting all that water. Though the monetary expensive may be higher, the guilt is much lower. Plus Cecilia looks so cute with a bubbly butt.

Tikka Masala Pits



I’ve been using organic and all-natural deodorant for several months now in an effort to avoid aluminum. I figure it was best to not put an metals in my body while I’m nursing Cecilia, especially in a location so close to my breasts. So far my experience has been pretty good. I found that Tom’s of Maine Unscented deodorant didn’t give me enough coverage, but I’ve had a very pleasant experience with Kiss My Face’s Liquid Rock in Lavender scent. However, there are some differences between this and my old reliable Lady’s Speedstick. For one, the organic sticks are deodorants and only deodorants. They are not antiperspirants. This is rather inconvenient as I suffer through my postpartum night sweats. They do not stop odor, only mask it. If you are particularly stinky or unable to take a shower for over 24 hours, you’re going to smell. Or, in my case, if you eat a heavily curry seasoned pasta, you’re pits are going to smell like curry for 5 days. I’ll never be able to fully enjoy Indian food again.

Curtis: update

…as in Curtis the Cactus, not my brother-in-law. (One is definitely more prickly than the other. I’ll let you decide which one.) This little guy has come a long way since he joined me.

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